By: KDKA-TV News Staff
HARRISBURG (KDKA) – The Pennsylvania Department of Health is narrowing its vaccine provider network again.READ MORE: Pine-Richland Head Football Coach Eric Kasperowicz And Entire Coaching Staff Will Not Return In Fall
Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said at a press conference Thursday that the state is focusing its network to narrow in on about 200 to 300 vaccine providers. The network is a mix of hospitals, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers and public health providers.
In February, the state Health Department reduced the number of providers from 780 statewide to just 200 to 300 outlets, delivering the vaccine primarily to hospitals, clinics and some pharmacies. The network primarily relied on the hospitals, which have the staffing, the expertise and the capacity to vaccinate large numbers of people quickly and safely.
Now that the state is seeing an increase in weekly allocation from the federal government, Beam says they’re focusing on giving doses to providers “who are best suited to achieve the goals of getting as many individuals vaccinated as quickly possible.”
Beam says there state’s vaccine distribution infrastructure will have four pillars for the next month.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine To Remain In Limbo While Officials Seek More Evidence
First, are about 350 to 450 providers like retail pharmacies and potential FEMA-supported sites that get vaccine doses from the federal government.
There are also targeted clinics with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that will be held for front-line workers like law enforcement and corrections officers, grocery store workers, firefighters, meat processing industry workers and agriculture workers.
There’s also the state’s focused network, which was narrowed today, and finally, state-orchestrated mass vaccination sites operated by PEMA and the Health Department.
Beam says these providers can now be found on a provider map. The map differentiates between vaccine providers who get state allocations and those who get federal allocations.
She says the state is working to open eligibility to everyone by President Joe Biden’s deadline of May 1, but that doesn’t mean there will be enough doses for everybody by May 1.MORE NEWS: Multiple Ballot Questions Face Voters In This Year's Primary
Right now, people who are 65 and older and those 16 to 64 with high-risk conditions like cancer, COPD or type 2 diabetes are eligible for the vaccine.